May 25, 2022

American Museum of Natural History Unveils New Database With 7,000 Digitized Items (Images, Illustrations, Drawings & More)

New online from the Research Library at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. More digitized content will be added moving forward.

The database is free to access and search.

From the AMNH Blog:

[The Digital Special Collection database presently includes] 7,000 archival photographs, rare book illustrations, drawings, notes, letters, and Museum memorabilia that make up a vast visual record of the Museum’s expeditions, exhibitions, research, and collections…


“Images will be added as the negatives are scanned and cataloged in the course of our systematic shelf-by-shelf progress through our 1 million-plus image collection, providing a random selection of newly available resources appearing on the site regularly—a good reason to remember to check back often,” says Tom Baione, who is the Harold Boeschenstein Director of the Library Services at the Museum.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to Digital Special Collections Database


1. An Advanced Search Interface is Available

2. Browse by Item, Collection, or Exhibit

3. Images can be purchased

From the  “About Page”

We have cataloged the images using the data available to us from each item’s original accession into the Museum Library, additional information from Museum departments, research conducted at the Library, and numerous related resources. Images are described using accepted standards such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names, as well as local Museum vocabularies. Data is entered into modified Dublin Core fields in an Omeka database. To maintain historical integrity, we retain legacy information about the images through data fields such as original caption, but include modern terms to ensure discovery through newly generated titles.


Our digitization strategy addresses our large collection of black and white negatives (film and glass plate) as well as color transparencies and slides. Original negatives are scanned, whenever possible, to create archival masters from which access derivatives are created. If a negative is unavailable, its photographic print is scanned instead.

A flatbed scanner is used for digitizing all formats including both reflective and transmissive items. Once scanned, images go through a systematic workflow from review to processing to final export onto the storage server and ingest into the database.

Direct to Digital Special Collections Database

See Also: AMNH DSpace Institutional Repository

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.